Meet the Mumma family from Jackson, Wyoming! Matt and Sara have four children 11-year-old Owen, 10-year- old twins Adelyn and Anabel and 7-year-old Noelle.
What’s your musical background?
I, Sara, have had almost no musical training before starting this program. The only musical training I had was a couple of months of playing the recorder along with my fourth-grade class, and a musical appreciation course in college, which to me was like entering an upper level foreign language class with no previous exposure. It was a wonder I passed at all, as none of it ever made sense. My now husband took that class with me, and as he asked me out for the first time as we walked back to the dorms from that class, I can’t say it was completely useless. It was however always a dream of mine to be able to play piano and I started taking the Busy Moms course as my children started the Busy Kids course. I had always thought that my lack of musical knowledge was due to a lack of talent, and while I would not say I am musically talented, I realized that my lack of knowledge was actually due to a lack of instruction. It was incredible to me the first time I played Yankee Doodle, and someone actually recognized the song. I had made music! Learning to play the piano along with my children has enabled me not only to help them succeed, but motivate me to continue learning.
Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?
We have started a little hobby homestead out here in Wyoming after buying a few acres a couple years ago. They say chickens are the gateway animal to farming, and we should have known we were in trouble, because our first order of 18 chicks was delivered two days after we moved in.
In addition to chickens, we also have ducks that actually lay eggs better than our chickens, and a dairy cow, which keeps us drowning in milk. We are able to sell extra eggs and milk, and are now jokingly referred to as The Mumma Farm by friends and family.
How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?
I have come to consider musical instruction as an essential core subject, so piano lessons are considered nonnegotiable in our household. We homeschool, and on the busiest days, when we only manage the bare minimum amount of schoolwork, piano makes that cut, along with math and reading. I think this has enabled us to be consistent with practice, because it has always been understood as essential. Did you brush your teeth? Did you practice piano? Both these questions get groans around here some days, but they are on the same playing field in regard to being an integral part of our day, or I should say, our homeschool day. Piano is missed on weekends, and sometimes on school breaks, but not the teeth brushing. Even with this ideology we still are not perfect with practicing, but it certainly helps.
To keep the structure, I have a planner where we check off our subjects for the day, and this helps me keep track of who practiced, and what lesson they are on.
How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?
The Busy Kids Do Piano program was recommended to me by a friend. I jumped on board about three years ago and have been so thankful for this program ever since. It has enabled us to get quality instruction very affordably.
Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your musical journey with piano lessons?
When we started doing lessons there was a lot of tears from one of my daughters. It always felt too hard for her. She would cry that she could never possibly play the song, and I would try to encourage her that she could not play it YET, but if she kept trying, she would eventually be able to. I would ask her to practice just a couple minutes a day as to not overwhelm her. When she finally mastered that song, I would remind her of her tears, and remind her that she persevered, and that what once seemed impossible was now easy for her. This has really helped shape her character over the last few years, and I could not be more thankful. She now says that her goal is to become a music teacher, and when asked to present in our co-op on what her favorite subject was, she picked that subject which was hardest for her, and claimed it was because she LIKED to do hard things. I did not see that coming, but I attribute it directly to her finding the joy of mastering through hard work that which at first seemed impossible.
What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?
I have read the studies done on the benefits of musical instruction for the brains of children, and that has certainly motivated me to pursue music for our family, but I think the character and habit formation that comes from musical instruction has made it a nonnegotiable for us.